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Is It Required to Have a Criminal History Check to Teach in Australia?

 

Requirement of Criminal History Checks in the Education Sector

Australia aims for top-class infrastructure for the education sector over time. The education system includes child care, pre-schools, primary and secondary education, universities and other tertiary institutions (such as TAFEs), professional training etc. Teaching is considered as one of the stable professions in Australia as the need for education is compulsory.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that about 276,329 teachers and 95,995 administrative and clerical workers are involved in Australia's education system. More than 1,200 institutions offer an approximate 22000 courses that cover various subjects. Every Australian state and territory has their own guidelines for the educational institutes; however, the requirements must meet the Federal Australian qualifications framework to get accredited.

Job Roles in the Education Sector

The educational and training sector can be divided into two parts: teachers (primary and secondary school teachers, school principals, university lecturers, etc.) and other professionals like administrative and support roles. Employee training, or in-house training, is a critical contributor to professional growth, and companies typically deliver in one of two ways: they employ trained people to supervise employee training, or they depend on training skilled third parties.

Requirements to Qualify for a Teaching Job

  • Educational requirement

In order to teach in primary and secondary schools, an applicant is required to have a bachelor or higher degree with an accredited education provider. During this period, an applicant can have the opportunity to work closely with the registered teachers and monitor their activities.

  • English Language Proficiency (If Applicable)

In case of a temporary visa holder or overseas applicants who do not have the minimum years (depends on states) of higher study completed in English-spoken countries like the USA, Canada etc., must provide evidence of ELP with the application for registration.

  • Teacher Registration

Many professions in Australia require registration, including teaching. When an applicant has finished their education, they may need to apply in their state or territory for registration. The process is subject to both a child clearance check and police check which would eventually result in a Provisional Registration. It will allow the candidate to obtain employment as an instructor. After that, they will need to provide proof to be elevated to the level of 'Proficient' and to obtain full registration. Each State and territory has its governing bodies and registration guidelines.

  • Skills Requirements

Excellent communication skill with the ability to build rapport with students is a primary skill, although a standard framework for required skills is not established. However, employers prefer someone who is organized, coordinated and committed to their student's intellectual, emotional and physical health. With excellent leadership skills and welcoming disposition, they must be competent, positive and motivated.

Know your State/Territory-wise Regulatory Authority and Requirements

Registration of teachers ensures a minimum standard of quality is applied to all teachers entering or currently teaching in Australia. Registration verifies that the person is a trained instructor.

Australian Capital Territory

To become a teacher in ACT, one must register themselves through the Teacher Quality Institute. The Working with Vulnerable People Act started on 8 November 2012 and intended to reduce the risk of harm and neglect to vulnerable people. The program sets compulsory minimum levels of checks across supervised activities.

New South Wales

NSW Education Standards Authority handles the accreditation of teachers. All NSW certified teachers must go through various levels for the accreditation, and there are criteria and processes for each stage. A current NSW Working with Children's Check (WWCC) is a teacher accreditation requirement. The WWCC includes a National Criminal History Check and review of any workplace misconduct findings. 

Northern Territory

If someone is currently working or is planning to work as a teacher in a school in this state, they will need to register with the Northern Territory Teacher Registration Board. The board was created to administer the teacher registration scheme and to facilitate the teaching profession's continuing competence and quality. The results of a National Police Check issued by Safe NT must be provided if the candidate is currently living in Australia or have ever lived in Australia. Teachers are required to hold an NT Working with Children Clearance (Ochre Card) for employment purposes, along with a National Police Check for registration.

Queensland

All teachers in Queensland must register themselves with the Queensland College of Teachers after meeting the suitability to teach criteria. The QCT will examine Criminal History, previous disciplinary actions of a candidate. If anyone has been charged with or convicted of any offence, they must disclose this when completing the application.

South Australia

In South Australia, the governing body of accreditation is the Teachers Registration Board. The candidate must have accepted credentials and experience to be licensed as a teacher, complete a mandatory notification training course on child abuse and neglect, provide consent to a Nationally Coordinated Criminal Check conducted by the board, and be a fit and proper instructor. All new teacher registration applicants in South Australia will also need a WWCC, and all currently registered teachers will be needed to have a WWCC when they renew their registration next.

Tasmania

Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania handles the accreditation of teachers in the state. One is required to have a Criminal History Check and Working with Children Check to work in this sector.

Victoria

Victorian Institute of Teaching is the accredited body for the state. One needs to have an Initial Teacher Education (ITE) qualification before applying for the registration. A current and satisfactory Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC) conducted by VIT on behalf of the applicant is required to be registered with VIT or to renew the registration as a teacher.

Western Australia

To become a registered teacher, you must complete an application for registration with the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia. There are 4 categories of registrations available. To attain a full registration, a criminal background check is also carried out along with other requirements. The received information is assessed by the TRBWA and taken into consideration when determining whether a person is a fit and proper person.

The requirement of a Criminal History Check is mandatory in all states and territories to register as a teacher. KONCHECK, an accredited body of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission can conduct these checks. It is a 100% online process and generally the certificate is released within 1-2 business days.

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